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Johnson Controls Inc. has honored building science thought-leader Philip Fairey with the firm's Building Efficiency Lifetime Leadership Award for his three decades of wide-ranging research, innovation and standards development involving energy and energy efficiency.

Fairey is the deputy director of the Florida Solar Energy Center, the state's energy research institute. He became the second recipient of Johnson Controls' BELL Award in a ceremony Thursday night after the day's Greenbuild conference programs.

The firm established the annual award to recognize individuals whose career focus and achievement have advanced energy efficiency, sustainability or renewable energy in the built environment. The selection process includes a review of nominations by judges from within the company as well as the industry.

This year's panel included Christine Ervin, a former assistant secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewables and the first president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. Ervin, who now speaks, writes and consults as the head of her own firm, is an editor at large for Greener World Media and its news sites, which include GreenBiz.com and GreenerBuildings.com. Greener World Media Associate Editor Leslie Guevarra, whose work focuses on the company's buildings vertical also was a BELL Awards judge.

Presentation of the award has become the centerpiece of Johnson Controls' annual Green Tie Affair, a customer appreciation event that's been held in conjunction with the Greenbuild conference for the past seven years.

"Philip's ingenuity and ongoing energy efficiency achievements highlight his leadership within the industry," said Clay Nesler, Johnson Controls' vice president of global energy and sustainability for the firm's building efficiency business, in a statement announcing Fairey's selection. "His work has helped advance renewable energy and energy efficiency in Florida, showcasing how states can use energy efficiency to reduce costs, protect the environment and create jobs."

In presiding over the event Thursday at the gathering of more than 200 industry professionals, Nesler praised Fairey's dedication to the mission of energy efficiency and renewable energy -- a commitment so strong that his participation in a key regulatory hearing prevented him from accepting his award in person.

In Fairey's behalf, Robin K. Vieira, director of buildings research for the Florida Solar Energy Center, thanked the company and conveyed his colleague's deep regrets that he could not attend. The situation is emblematic of Fairey's work focus and philosophy, Vieira said.

Speaking of his Fairey's strong passion and professional commitment, Vieira said that in all the years he has known his colleague, "I've never seen him do anything or make a professional decision that was in his own self-interest. He always makes sure things are done right."

Fairey's professional achievements include:

  • Initiating the building science research program at the Florida Solar Energy Center in 1980.
  • In the years since, he's had primary responsibility for more than 30 major building science research contracts totaling more than $12 million.
  • Conceiving and developing the Florida Building Energy-Efficiency Rating System.
  • Leading development of a user-friendly, software tool for code compliance, energy ratings and economic analysis.
  • Work as the author or co-author of four books and more than 80 technical articles, research studies, papers, other publications as well as educational efforts.


The holder of several U.S. patents, Fairey received the U.S. Department of Energy's National Award for Innovation in Research in 1984 and the University of Central Florida's highest award for research in 1987.

Images courtesy of the Florida Solar Energy Center.